October 25th, 2009
12:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Give McChrystal the troops he wants, Hatch says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, said Sunday that, regardless of the political situation on the ground in Afghanistan, President Obama should give U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal the 40,000 additional American troops that McChrystal has reportedly requested.

In an interview that aired earlier on CNN's State of the Union, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the leading challenger to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, called into question the ability of the Afghan government to partner with the United States if Karzai wins an upcoming run-off election as many senior Obama administration officials expect.

Asked about Abdullah's comments, Hatch told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, "I think it's taken too long," for Obama to make a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan.

"We have to worry about corruption but we also have to work with whoever is put in there," Hatch also said, making a reference to the unsettled political situation in Afghanistan caused by fraud in the country's presidential election last month.

"And whoever is put in there, you're going to find some corruption," the Utah Republican added. "The fact of the matter is I think we ought to rely on the hand-picked general, by President Obama, Gen. McChrystal, who said that we've got to have more troops."

Hatch added that he thought some of Obama's critics have been "hypercritical" in suggesting that the president was delaying a decision about Afghanistan until after two upcoming gubernatorial elections early next month in Virginia and New Jersey. Some political observers have suggested that the two races could be viewed as a referendum on Obama's presidency so far.

"I hope that's not the case," Hatch said of suggestions that Obama's drawn-out decisionmaking process on Afghanistan could be motivated by domestic political considerations.

But Hatch also said it was "a mistake to continue to not make this decision" given the advice the White House has reportedly received from McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

Two Democratic senators were more generous towards Obama in their assessment of the situation in Afghanistan.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he thought it was "frankly too early to tell" whether another Karzai term would lead to more corruption. Therefore, Brown said, Obama should continue to listen to his many advisers and make the Afghanistan troop level decision "in the most sobering way possible."

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said the U.S. relationship with the Afghan government "has to be a partnership. There's no question about it when we have that many American troops stationed there, fighting there, and, unfortunately, dying there." Nelson told King that he didn't think the capability of the Afghan government would be known until next month's run-off election.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Hey Hatch

    When you become president, you can make the presidential decisions

    Until then stay in the back seat where you belong

    Obama's doing the driving right now

    October 25, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Doris D. in Virginia

    I am a huge supporter of the Military, I have family members who serve, but I am also an even bigger supporter of Human Life. It is a difficult decision that Obama has to make, and either decision he makes, the lives of our troops are going to be sacrificed. What we need to do is back off a minute and think about what Obama is up against. Anybody, Republican or Democrat, should not take this lightly. I don't think he should rush into it, but I also think he does need to make a decision soon, which I think he is doing right now.

    Just as you wouldn't rush someone to cook your food for fear that something undercooked may make you sick, you don't rush sending human lives into a battle that may not be worth it.

    October 25, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. jane

    Given the fact that the Republicans mired us deep into another no-win military situation during the last administration, it's amazing to me that they can have the gaul to comment now. We finally have someone in the Oval Office making thoughtful decisions, and I think we need to support him.

    October 25, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. rasabu

    Sen Hatch and his Republican supporters would be the first to complain if American money was lost to corruption in Afghanistan. He would also be the first to complain if there is an escalation in the number of troop deaths. The man should chill and let the president, Hillary, and the rest of the foreign affairs and military team do their job!

    October 25, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Fed Up

    Obama should either put up or shut up. Either give the military the troops they need to fight that war, or get the H-E-double hockey sticks out of that country. And please, spare us the "I am more concerned about these troops than anyone" trash. I'm sorry. The only thing Obama seemingly worries about in the military is his photo ops. Same as Clinton and company. I gues the one thing we should be glad of, is that he hasn't marched the troops across the White House lawn yet.

    October 25, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. William

    Orin Hatch like so many other opposition party members is salivating at the thought of more bloodshed. Republicans live for war, that should tell you something right off the bat and the biggest proponents of militarism are typically the ones who have never served in the military. Enjoy your bloodshed Senator Hatch!

    October 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Bunksplace

    I didn't hear Hatch criticize the Bush administration when they abandoned Afghanistan and the search for Osama-bin-Laden for the ill-conceived war in OIL-RICH Iraq. Hatch and his Republican cohorts are so fast to place American troops in harms way when their families are shielded from military service. How many more American troops have to die or sustain life-long injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan before the shameless Republicans are satisfied. Remember, 9/11 happened on Bush's and Cheney's watch when good intelligence was available but ignored. I'm a Vietnam veteran so please don't question my patriotism or service to country. I bet the majority of congress and the people on this board who push for war
    expansion have never faced combat and, therefore, have no clue what they're talking about.

    October 25, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Meka

    That was the same response Bush got, prior to going into IRAQ!

    October 25, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. WAR Politics

    War on Terrorism needs to break through false political lies.

    Saudi Arabia is the Enemy not Afghans.

    Opium isn't the enemy it's the terrorists.

    Why fuel terrorism with a dysfunctional drug war?

    Isn't there a medical solution to the drug problem?

    Why have a civil war in America against drugs that only puts big money into cheap herbal extracts?

    If it wasn't for the drug laws there wouldn't be any profit in drug dealing!

    October 25, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Terry from West Texas

    People complain that Obama takes too long to make a decision, but I prefer someone who thinks things through carefully and will not be hurried in decision-making. We are not yet a year into Obama's presidency. It took Harry Truman two years to get his feet on the ground after Roosevelt's death. It took Roosevelt some time to invent the New Deal. All of you who always know exactly what the president should do should run for president and show us how it is done.

    We elected the guy. Let's give him a chance to develop meaningful responses to difficult problems. Let us remember that all of the smartest Republicans struggled with Afghanistan for 6 years trying to figure out what to do, and their efforts came to little. They ran the Taliban out of Kabul but that turbulent nation does not have much fertile soil from which democracy can grow. However, if we leave the Taliban (or some other gang of fundamentalists lunatics) will establish another theocracy there. So what do we do? Pour more and more men, money, and effort into that unfortunate nation? And for how long? A year? 5? 15? How many Americans should die there? 1,000? 5,000? 50,000?

    The only thing that bothers me about Obama is that he wanted to be president. I am suspicious of the mental stability of anyone who wants that awful job.

    October 25, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Carnell From The Motor City

    How Very Disingenuous Of Senator Orrin Hatch To Say, He's Not Running Anything Except His Mouth.

    October 25, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. hawk

    You in the GOP can kiss off !! You have caused ALL of United States
    problems over seas and now you want the Dems.to bail out your
    sorry rear-ends.What a bunch of losers !! You make me ill Mr.Hatch !

    October 25, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Rick

    It's easy to send troops to their death as long as their not your kids. We are in 2 wars we should not be in because of Bush and Cheney not asking the right questions and reushing in to things. I support Obama.

    October 25, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Eric in Texas

    Nice to see all the arm chair military commanders praising the delay to send more troops. Wonder how many of you would think like this if you were on the ground in Afghanistan?

    October 25, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Fitz in Texas

    Obama appoints Gen. McChrystal to do a job and ignores the General. It's a sad day when The President of the United States feels he can drag his feet and not support our military. A very sad day indeed.

    October 25, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. blueskys

    Why not line these hard headed idiots as Hatch up and send them to the front lines let them have their heads shot off or injured after all it was him and his croneys that started this war and only with their lies and more lies.
    They continue with their religion but once the same babys reach 18 years old they want to round them all up and send them to the front lines at that point their lives or well being means nothing to these idiots warmongers all they are thinking about is not loosing their own seat.

    It took 8 years to put the country where it ended so this 8 years is important to remember so how do you expect Obama to clean up an 8 year mess overnight?

    Obama take your time you are our leader and doing a good job .

    Can someone please locate a deserted island or planet where we can send Cheney and his fallowers?

    October 25, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. windrider

    Yeah, Orrin, just rush right in there with tens of thousands of troops with no strategy for using them effectively? No thanks, we've already done that once under YOUR President and that's exactly why Afghanistan has gone to hell in a handbasket...because Bush had no strategy for Afghanistan and couldn't be bothered with coming up with one because he was too busy declaring victory in Iraq, over and over and over again (and by the way, Sen. Hatch, we're still in Iraq too, thanks to your party being in charge of two wars and winning neither).

    October 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Terry Gloege

    Ya go ahead and send more troops. We can see how much good it has done in Iraq.

    October 25, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    why is it that the Republicans seem to love war and killing? I don't see what is wrong with not just jumping up and sending our already overworked troops into harms way once again. If the president were to do that and our death tolls start to climb, he'll get backlash from the left and a lot of his supporters and you can bet the GOP will do nothing to back him up on it. It's a no win situation for Obama at the moment but I prefer the no win to be with as few losses of American life as possible.

    October 25, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Mark CA

    Well Sen. Hatch if your that sure of yourself then why dont you put on some war paint, grab a gun and go over there yourself. My God some of you poster are discusting. Are you armchair warmongering jerks that willing to throw more of our young men and women into the meat grinder without any clear paln other than to blow things up. This isn't the movies people and John Wayne died a long time ago.
    I applaud Obama in speaking with ALL his top advisors in formulating a clear strategy on what we should be doing there in the first place. Remeber righties it was your Commander in Theif that took his eye off the ball in the first place.

    October 25, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Ted Tartaglia

    Isn't it amazing that the one clamoring for more war are ones who never bothered to serve in the military. Is it because it is easy to be brave when someone else is dying? I wonder.

    October 25, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Tired of stupidity

    I am assuming that Orin Hatch is not Pro-Life. Please prez think cleary on whay really needs to be done and how exactly are we going to do it.

    October 25, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Mike in Texas

    Maybe if we hadn't made a left turn into Iraq we wouldn't be in this situation. Nice try Hatch. All those senators who voted for Iraq (Hatch included) should be voted out. Including Dems who only voted for it because they were worried about getting re-elected.

    October 25, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Peter s

    When will people understand the situation in Afghanistan is more complicated than most common folks think!!. How long did it take the allied forces to kick out Iraq from Kuwait?. If you can answer that, then it will be easier to understand why the so called war in afghanistan has taken more than eight years!!

    October 25, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Bev

    Only when Senator Hatch is willing to go the front lines himself in Afghanistan, or send a member of his family to the front lines, does he have any right to say others should be placed in harm's way for a directive that is hopelessly ambiguous in a region with a hopelessly corrupt government. Our sons and daughters are not your fodder, Senator Hatch. Nor are they the fodder of those who believe military might is always right. Simple solutions speak to a simple mind. Time to get smarter. As a military mom I fully support our troops – but, I cannot support a political decision to send more of them to become sitting ducks. How about you, Senator Hatch? Are you willing to send a grandson or daughter to be a sitting duck in Afghanistan?

    October 25, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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